Sharing the light of Christ with Filipino Muslims
It’s midday on a Tuesday. The day care for young children that Jo and two others run in a neighbourhood of Manila is coming to a close. Time for a break!
It’s a small space, and the 3- to 5-year-olds are chaotic, undisciplined. They will just walk out randomly to buy something at the shop in the middle of activities. As usual, the leaders of the day care are going to one of the children’s homes, taking lunch with them. It's a great opportunity to get to know more about the family, and they often get to talk about things that are not talked about in the community centre.
This time the women and kids are joined by the dad, who turns out to be a determined Muslim apologist.
“After we had eaten,” Jo says, “he began talking about Islam and Christianity, comparing the two religions in favour of Islam. He had more of the Bible memorised than I ever would! We simply replied that the Muslim faith is more about seeing God as a judge, and the Christian faith is more about seeing God as a God of love.”
Jo joined SIM Philippines as a mobiliser, aiming to encourage and support Filipinos who wanted to serve overseas. She was ideal for the role, having lived in the Philippines from 1993 to 2001 and becoming fluent in Tagalog. She has just been appointed Personnel Coordinator, which gives her the opportunity to work closely with those in Christian service - as well as invest her time, talents, and tender care in the community with children in the day care.
Because of her love for children, Jo and the other day care workers can visit Muslim homes and build relationships with friends from the Muslim community.
SIM Philippines has a policy that everyone, no matter what their main ministry is, should have a community they engage with twice a week--like Jo does in the day care center. In Manila, most communities SIM engages with are a mix of Muslim and Christian, and most of the Muslims are families who have moved north to get away from political problems in the southern island of Mindanao. Muslims make up 10% of the population.
In the district Jo visits, the building they meet in was built by both Christian and Muslim community leaders. The sons of the ustad (a respected Muslim leader at the local mosque) come to her day care centre, and she and the other workers love on those boys. The ustad said to the SIM workers: “We’re a mixed population here, and we want to all work together for the good of our community.”
Thank God for workers like Jo who are willing to step outside their own walls and serve that mixed population--not only for the good of the community, but for the good of God's kingdom, where we pray many in the sprawling city of Manila will come to know Christ as Lord.
God is reaching Muslims around the world through dreams and visions of Jesus. Ask Him to send these dreams and visions to the Muslims she meets in Manila. Cry out to Him for the salvation of the children in the day care, and ask God if He might want you to serve Him in some capacity like Jo: by praying faithfully, giving to support missions in the Philippines, or serving with SIM.